The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has called on young people to use their creativity and leadership in the AIDS response.
“As agents of change, young people must claim their right to health and be part of the decision making processes that will impact their lives,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said in a statement to mark this year’s International Youth Day, which fell on Monday, August 12, 2013.
There have been tremendous achievements in the response to the HIV epidemic for adolescents and youth but much more needs to be done. Young people are not only beneficiaries of HIV services but also play an important role as partners and leaders in the AIDS response.
This is why UNAIDS has expanded its youth programme and recently established the Youth Advisory Forum to channel young people’s voices and opinions into key UNAIDS initiatives.
Globally, an estimated 4.6 million young people are living with HIV. Each day, about 2300 young people are newly infected with HIV.
Many young people living with HIV do not have access to treatment or do not know their HIV status. In many countries, young people are prevented from accessing sexual and reproductive health services, including HIV testing and condoms, due to age-related restrictions.